Despite my earlier post about the paucity of decent daytime television, I woke in the middle of the night last night to discover a fairly decent movie on television, Kinsey. And although I’d been interested in seeing this movie – I like Liam Neeson and I love Laura Linney – I’d never actually gotten around to seeing it which is a shame.
It’s a good film, though flawed in some respects, as most biographical films are due to time constraints. We learn about his early life and his tempestuous relationship with his father; we learn about his early academic work looking at bugs; and we learn about his early married life, where they are unable initially to consummate the marriage due to ignorance about how foreplay etc in dealing with his especially large penis; and how all of these issues influenced his life’s later motivations.
My feeling is they’ve probably included the most significant parts of his life, but in doing so, the film really flew. Unlike most films which I generally think are too long, Kinsey could have done with a few extra minutes. I was keen for example to learn a little more about the impact his extra-marital relationships with both men and women and his scientific research had on his marriage. I was a little disappointed with Laura Linney’s performance. Although I really love her, and her work, I thought her portrayal of Kinsey’s wife could have been a little more rounded. She just seemed a little to “accepting”, an issue which I also thought was a weakness of the wife’s character in the biopic about Cole Porter’s life, DeLovely.
But one of the things I really like about the film is humour, used throughout to convey some often difficult themes. One of my favourite exchanges is an interview conducted by Kinsey’s co-worker (and lover), Clyde Martin…
Clyde Martin: How old were you when you first engaged in sexual activity with a partner?
Research Subject: 14.
Clyde Martin: How?
Research Subject: With horse.
Clyde Martin: [pause] How often were you having intercourse with animals at age 14?
Research Subject: [stunned] It’s true. I fucked a pony. You are genius, how did you know?
Clyde Martin: You just said you had
Clyde Martin: sex with horse.
Research Subject: Nooo… Whores, not horse, WHORES.
The film also covers some of the controversy surrounding Kinsey’s work, and some of the issues about censorship and 1950s moralism brought up in the George Clooney film, “Good Night & Good Luck” were also covered here.
As far as biographical films are concerned, it’s a pretty good one, though I would have liked it to have been a little longer. Also, for a movie that’s about a bloke who spent a lot of his life interested in, and having, sex there’s not a lot of sex in the movie. Shame really…